Literacy Network and Madison Path to Citizenship receive UW-Madison Community-University Partnerships Award

Yadira Meldrid Olarte earned her citizenship in March. She is one of 19 Literacy Network students this year to become citizens. She’s picture here with David E. Jones, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Jeff Burkhart, jeff@litnetwork.org, (608) 244-3911
Laurie S. Z. Greenberg, laurie.sz.greenberg@wisc.edu, (608) 263-6735

May 4, 2017 – Literacy Network and the Madison Path to Citizenship will receive a 2017 Community-University Partnership Award from UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank on June 28, 2017.  The award highlights exemplary partnerships that get to the heart of the Wisconsin Idea-community members and UW-Madison personnel working collaboratively in the interest of the public good.

At the outset of the partnership, Literacy Network (www.litnetwork.org) was the only agency in Dane County offering citizenship classes to help lawful permanent residents learn US civics and history, and pass the US citizenship test. Demand for citizenship classes increased 76% over three years, far exceeding their capacity.

Madison Path to Citizenship (www.madisonpath.com), a coalition among community organiza-tions, UW-Madison, and UW Extension, was created to provide outreach and support for citi-zenship programs. They used resources from the Baldwin fund and the City of Madison to help Literacy Network expand naturalization classes, teacher training and tutor training, including instructor placement and consultation for new classes by partners like Catholic Multicultural Center. The partnership is working to better meet the growing needs of the estimated 15,000 lawful permanent residents in Dane County who are eligible to apply for US citizenship.

Madison Path to Citizenship provides outreach sessions for Literacy Network’s learners to help them with other services needed to attain citizenship. Trained law students help them complete the 20-page Application for Naturalization and apply for help to cover the $725 fee for natural-ization. Applications are reviewed by a pro bono immigration attorney before sent to the US government. The partnership has resulted in a significant increase in the number of successful applicants for citizenship.

The project hopes to continue to offer more citizenship classes and services so that more per-manent residents can become citizens and fully participate in life in the United States.

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